CW's British Riders of 2012: No. 42-41
Riders of the year 2012 logo
Cycling Weekly is revealing the top 50 2012 British Riders of the Year, counting down every day until December 19.
The top 10 will be revealed in Cycling Weekly's Christmas issue, on sale from Thursday December 20.
42nd LUKE ROWEFinding his feet
Every rider's debut season in the professional ranks is a learning curve as steep as the steepest sections of the Mortirolo.
However, Team Sky is doing a pretty good job of blooding young riders gradually and sensibly, loading them with enough work so that they learn what it's all about without bleeding them dry.
Rowe has ridden a number of top stage races, sampled a couple of the Ardennes Classics and started to really come good in the summer. The 22-year-old had a string of top places at the Tour of Denmark, using his powerful sprint to help his team-mates Lars Petter Nordhaug and Mark Cavendish win stages.
He then got a late call-up to Sky's Tour of Britain squad, which thrilled him because the Welsh stage practically cut across his garden at home.
But on the opening day, he exceeded any expectation by winning the stage. Okay, so it was a chaotic approach to the Norfolk Showground and Plan A fell apart when Cavendish crashed in the closing kilometres.
When Rowe realised Cavendish had crashed, he suddenly found himself being led out for the victory by the Tour de France champion, Bradley Wiggins, and he didn't mess about. Victory also netted him a day in the leader's gold jersey.
41st MICHAEL HUTCHINSON
Regular like clockwork
The good doctor just keeps winning national time trial titles - three again this year in the 10-mile, 25-mile and 50-mile events.
And, because he's from Northern Ireland, he was eligible for the Irish Time Trial Championships, which he won ahead of Martyn Irvine and Nicholas Roche.
However, it's not just the victories that make Hutchinson a phenomenon, it is the fact that, as he approaches 40 (he was 39 in November), he is going faster than ever.
This year, he set new personal bests in both the 10-mile and 25-mile disciplines, performances that were also competition records for those distances.
Add to that the fact he retained his Brompton World Championship title at Blenheim (in a course record time, naturally) and his burgeoning media profile, not to mention his always amusing column in Cycling Weekly and there appears to be little sign of him slowing down just yet.
Don't agree with our choice of riders? You can vote for your top 10 British Riders of 2012 on the CW website. When Tweeting about our countdown or your nominees, use the #ridersoftheyear hashtag. We'll be running your choice in a future issue. Vote now>>